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Offbeat News

Japan student uses invisible ink to ace ninja report

Apo - A Japanese student aced an assignment on ninja culture by making her own invisible ink from soybeans in a stealthy move that impressed her professor.

Spanish police saved from sea by smugglers they were chasing

Madrid - Three Spanish police officers who were thrown into the sea when their boat crashed early Friday during a high-speed chase were pulled to safety by the drug-smugglers they were chasing, police said.

From Hitler to Michael Jackson, unlikely names for Nobel Peace Prize

Oslo - Eighty years ago on the brink of the bloodiest conflict in history, Adolf Hitler was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize, illustrating that literally anyone can be nominated.

Vietnamese roll out Transformers-inspired robot with green message

Hanoi - There is more than meets the eye to the towering robot resembling a character from the "Transformers" movie franchise -- it speaks Vietnamese and is made from spare motorbike parts."Hello everyone ...

Spokesman defends dishevelled Duterte as 'very hygienic'

Moscow - President Rodrigo Duterte's spokesman on Thursday defended the Philippine leader as "very hygienic" and nice-smelling after he was mocked on social media for looking dishevelled in a meeting with the Russian prime minister.

Panther stolen from zoo after rescue from French rooftops

Lille - It appears to be France's most coveted cat: A black panther rescued from rooftops near the northern city of Lille last week has been stolen from the zoo where it was taken after capture, officials said.

Cancer-fighting pizza, scrotum study win spoof Nobel prizes

New York - A study of whether pizza made and eaten in Italy wards off cancer and an inventor of a diaper-changing machine are among the winners of this year's spoof Nobel prizes.

Could the Loch Ness monster be a giant eel?

Drumnadrochit - Is the Loch Ness monster a shark? A giant catfish? A sturgeon? No, it's a giant eel! Or at least it could be, according to a study published on Thursday.

Pope freed by firemen after getting stuck in Vatican lift

Vatican City - Pope Francis said Sunday he was late to his weekly Angelus prayer because he had been stuck in a Vatican elevator and had to be freed by firemen.

Pole caught in customs web with tarantula haul

Cayenne - Customs officials caught a Polish man was after trying to smuggle nearly 100 tarantula spiders in his luggage, at Cayenne airport, French Guiana, regional officials told AFP Saturday.

Spain civil war bomb detonated near Barcelona beach

Barcelona - A bomb dating back to Spain's 1930s civil war was detonated on Monday near the beach in Barcelona where it was discovered at the weekend, prompting the evacuation of sunbathers, police said.

'Sorry!' Johnson puts foot in it at Macron's palace

An invitation to the gilded Elysee palace of France's president in Paris usually prompts a sense of decorum and formality in a visitor of any rank.But not Britain's charismatic -- and sometimes controversial -- new Prime Minister Boris Johnson.

Women to get gender-neutral rugby World Cup from 2021

London - The Women's Rugby World Cup in 2017 will be the last to bear that title with World Rugby announcing on Wednesday they are adopting a policy of gender neutrality for their tournaments.

Russian sailor's message in bottle found 50 years later in Alaska

Washington - A man gathering firewood in Alaska discovered a bottle with a handwritten message inside wishing the finder "happy sailing" more than 50 years after it was dropped into the sea by a Russian sailor."Sincere greetings!

Could Mexico cactus solve world's plastics problem?

Guadalajara - Mexico's prickly pear cactus, which is emblazoned on the country's flag, could soon play a new and innovative role in the production of biodegradable plastics.

Turkmen leader quells death rumours with return to TV screens

Ashgabat - Turkmenistan's all-powerful leader returned to state television on Wednesday, dispelling an online rumour that he had died.

Prized Thai buffaloes show off speed in muddy race

Chon Buri - Sloshing across a muddy field with men sprinting behind them, prized water buffaloes blow past cheering spectators in eastern Thailand on Sunday in a rare display of bovine speed.

Scotland Yard Twitter and emails hacked

London - London's Metropolitan Police apologised Saturday after its Twitter, emails and news pages were targeted by hackers and began pumping out a series of bizarre messages.

Salvini and Berlusconi bet on pets as Italy coalition wobbles

Rome - Italy's strongman deputy prime minister Matteo Salvini appears to be taking a leaf out of former leader Silvio Berlusconi's book by wooing voters with pet-friendly initiatives to shore up support ahead of possible elections.

Tiger, rhinos flee to higher ground in India's flood-hit Assam

Guwahati - A tiger escaped from a wildlife park in India's flood-ravaged Assam and stretched out on a shophouse bed Thursday, startling residents and shining a spotlight on the plight of animals caught up in the deluge.

Russian comedy duo pranks North Macedonia PM

Skopje - Two Russian pranksters famous for hoax phone calls have tricked North Macedonia's prime minister into seemingly agreeing to pay a bribe and accusing Russia of having "many spies" in the Balkans.

Not kosher: Israel embassy in Brazil mocked over lunch photo

Bras - A bungled attempt to alter a photo of Israel's ambassador to Brazil apparently enjoying a lobster lunch with President Jair Bolsonaro has been ridiculed on social media, where users accused the embassy of censoring the non-kosher shellfish.

Thailand's orphaned baby dugong becomes conservation star

Trang - Cuddles at feeding time are one of many techniques vets in Thailand are using to raise an orphaned baby dugong named Mariam, and which have helped spread interest in ocean conservation in the process.

Osaka rolls out red carpet, not red-light district for G20

Osaka - Special quick-flushing toilets, granny rap and a self-imposed brothel ban: Japan's Osaka is determined to paint itself in the best possible light for the G20 leaders summit starting on Friday.

Fake Twitter account for new UN food agency chief shut down

Rome - A fake Twitter account opened immediately after the weekend election of China's Qu Dongyu to head the Food and Agriculture Organization has been shut down, the UN food agency said Monday.

'Good gifts': Putin presents Xi with birthday ice cream

Dushanbe - Russian President Vladimir Putin presented his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping with a giant box of ice cream for his 66th birthday before a summit in Tajikistan on Saturday, the Kremlin said, in a sign of the pair's warm ties.

Hong Kongers alarmed by Google translation gaffe

Fpo - Hong Kong social media lit up on Friday when protesters noticed Google's translation software was briefly churning out a rather odd suggestion during a week that has seen the worst political violence to hit the city in decades.

89/64: China stocks reference Tiananmen anniversary... again

Fpo - As the world marked the 30th anniversary of the Tiananmen crackdown on Tuesday Chinese stocks once again referenced the event, with two Hong Kong indexes closing at lunch with figures that might prove a little awkward.

Australian teen who egged senator donates to Christchurch victims

Sydney - An Australian teen who egged a far-right senator over his offensive comments about the Christchurch mosque attacks says he has donated almost Aus$100,000 (US$69,000) raised for his legal defence to the victims of the shootings.

Anchorwomen: Chinese, US TV hosts primed for showdown

Bejing - The US-China trade talks may be on hold but their war on words is heating up, with Chinese and US TV anchors primed for a rare television debate that Beijing hopes will prove a popular draw.
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